This past spring, as we were planning to bring musical groups of different ages and styles to our Good News at the Gazebo concerts in August, one local pastor asked me to write a blurb about each of the invited groups because not every group ministers to his generation. While his comment helped me in advertising our performers to different groups, it also created the reminder in my head to look for such instances around me.
I found out that one of Rick Warren’s favorite verses is the one that talks about David serving the Lord in his generation (Acts 13:36). Rick Warren, who has become one of the most famous evangelicals, believes that our focus of ministry is often very narrow.
I also have experienced the narrowness of the ministry when some of the young people in the church told me that they wanted somebody to spend more time with them and it was not me. They wanted somebody who was younger and therefore, we hired a youth director who is doing a great job with them.
Recently in searching for some videos for a men’s event, I checked out one of the young preachers (31 years old) who gave a major address at an international event that I participated in. I liked what he said, but I was slightly puzzled over the narrowness of his message. He basically has a young congregation and he challenged them to become a generation that will be known for what they stand for and will restore honor to their countries. His narrowness or, to turn it positively, his specificity reminded me that in our enthusiasm we can miss large parts of society. Anyone who was not in that age bracket felt left out.
St. Augustine writes, “God, you have made us for yourself and our hearts are restless until they find their rest in you.” Our contemporary lifestyle is something that has been contradicting the promises of technology. We were promised that as we advance in our technology we will have more time to relax. When I talk with retired people, I find out that they are busier now than when they worked. When I talk with young single people or young married couples, they tell me how busy they are. However, in all of our busyness, we do not seem to be happy or satisfied.
The Shorter Westminster Catechism asks the question, “What is the purpose for God creating man?” It gives this as the answer, “God created man so that he can enjoy God and in this enjoyment find the purpose for his life.”
In the Epistle of John we read these words: “I write to you, dear children, because your sins have been forgiven on account of his name. I write to you, fathers, because you have known him who is from the beginning. I write to you, young men, because you have overcome the evil one. I write to you, dear children, because you have known the Father. I write to you, fathers, because you have known him who is from the beginning. I write to you, young men, because you are strong and the word of God lives in you, and you have overcome the evil one.” (1 John 2:12-14)
I enjoy how John is bringing the three groups together – the children, the young men and their fathers. In the pilgrimage of faith they have a story to tell to one another – a story in each of their generations that will make all of the generations strong.